Dan Campbell responds to Lions hype, Chiefs challenge to open 2023 season: NFL 'betting on we won't get our ass kicked'
Dan Campbell's intensity and positivity has drawn the NFL's eye to Detroit since the second half of the 2021 season. Whether it's on "Hard Knocks," in the midst of a losing streak, or beating the Packers hours after the Lions were eliminated from the playoffs, Campbell has been consistent in preaching hard work and tenacity for the Lions.That is really paying dividends as the Lions, who didn't get a primetime game until Week 18 against Green Bay last season, will now kick off the NFL season against the Chiefs in 2023 at the Chiefs' banner ceremony at Arrowhead.That means a few things for the upstart team. It means the NFL views this game as a marquee matchup, it means it expects the Lions to be able to run with Kansas City, and it means the Lions are well and truly on the map heading into Campbell's third year.Campbell himself put it a bit more eloquently.MORE: NFL schedule 2023 winners & losers: Chiefs, 49ers, Lions get big breaks"Certainly we're beginning to get noticed. That's what it means," Campbell said, per NFL.com. "Now I'll say this: Here's my first thought, if I'm being totally honest with you, as to why they would give us Kansas City. OK, well you finished the year a certain way, but it also means they're betting on we won't get our ass kicked, alright? You may get beat, but you're not getting your ass kicked. That's what they're saying."Besides the competitiveness preached there, there's Campbell's signature brand of realism roiling under the surface. He knows the Chiefs are the defending champions. He knows they're perennial contenders. He even knows the Chiefs are going to be favorites. But the Lions won't get blown out, and that in and of itself is kind of an endorsement.Per BetMGM, the Lions are currently +130 to win the NFC North and their win total is set at 9.5. So hopes are high in the Motor City this year."We get Kansas City, the heavyweight champ," Campbell said of the Chiefs. "So we're excited. I can't [even] tell you. The staff's excited. I know our players are excited. I think everybody wants an opportunity to play the champ and see where you stack up. I know what (Chiefs coach) Andy Reid's about. We know what that team's about."MORE: Why the NFL picked Lions to play Chiefs in season openerFor the Chiefs, it's the second time in four years they'll be kicking off the NFL schedule, and they're in six primetime games, so the limelight is nothing new to them. In Detroit, however, it means some pressure."If you slip up and lose a game, well then you're trash again," Campbell said, per NFL.com. "But if you don't win the game, then you're not worthy enough to be playing on Thursday night, first game of the year. So we gotta block all that out. It's the next game. It's the one in front of us. We gotta prepare."All, of course, wise words. But there is pressure in Detroit this year. The division and, indeed, the conference looks more attainable than ever. So it will be on the Lions to capitalize. Starting with a matchup against the best.